MEET OUR AMERICORPS MEMBERS – Ashley Palomo

Why did you apply to be an AmeriCorps Member?

I graduated from college in 2015 and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was working two jobs to gain more work experience and to pay my student loans off. I knew that I didn’t want to be answering phones for the rest of my life, so when my aunt told me about AmeriCorps here in my hometown I quickly applied because I knew that I wanted to help strengthen my community and others around it.

What Neighborhood Network community are you placed in?

I am placed in Blue Island-Robbins with lead partner agency Metropolitan Family Services. Blue Island being my hometown!

What is your role as an AmeriCorps Member?

Currently our Neighborhood Network is still in the beginning steps, so as of now I am going to our coalition sites to learn more about them. I also work on spreadsheets to input the data we have collected from the community.

What have you learned in your role?

I have learned that our community does not know a lot of what’s going on within the community and the resources we, as a town, provide. Blue Island and Robbins do provide services to our residents, but we need to communicate with them in a better or different way. I have also gotten another perspective from both Blue Island and Robbins. Being more around my town and our coalition members gives me hope that there are people in our neighborhoods that want positive change.

What do you want individuals to know about your Neighborhood Network community?

I want others to know that we are trying to build better communities, but we cannot do it alone. If individuals want better communities, they have to get involved. It’s a two way street. Also, success cannot happen overnight. There are a lot of things that need to get done, but there needs to be patience.

What do you hope to accomplish during your year of service?

I hope to accomplish better communication and involvement within these two communities. Blue Island and Robbins can be so much more than what they are now; people just need to come visit us with open-minds; there’s a history to everything. I’d also like to grow as an individual so I can help others in new ways that I didn’t know of before. Lastly, I would like to have found a career that suits me or at least be a step closer to where I need to be in life to help me find that career.

What were you doing prior to the AmeriCorps Program?

Before AmeriCorps I worked at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills as a Test Proctor and I currently still work at Brookfield Zoo on the weekends.

Funding for AmeriCorps is provided in part by Corporation for National and Community Service, and Serve Illinois / Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service.

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